Identity as motivation

To let young people think about inspiration and feel confident within themselves

We are listening intensively, and looking with big eyes, to what an artist from Paramaribo is about to tell us. His story is mainly about three ingredients for success: knowing what you want, knowing what you can, and knowing who you are.

At the beginning we stand up and start walking around the classroom. To get us loose, the artist calls out something. It is about his unique hair style, the love for art or what comes to his mind at that moment. Then, some of us, one by one dare to speak out about what makes us unique too. Who has similar thought or feeling as the one that called something, joins the person who made that statement. The rest of us will stand as far away as possible from that group.

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When we are back in our chairs, EdKe introduces himself. He then talks about his personal experience as a student in secondary school, about the arts, the resistance and support in search for a dream. Especially looking for who he is. It is January 24th, and he visits each class to speak for 10 minutes. According to him, students of VOJ Albina are great young people. Some of us hear his story before seeing the movie ‘Jesse Owens’, and others after the movie ‘The Gaby Douglas Story’. It is a motivational package with films about ‘black’ Americans with the theme ‘Equal Enjoyment’ and the story of this Surinamese artist.

The answer to what an individual really wants, according to the artist, is within himself. “Or does it lay in two places within?” he asks pointing to his heart and head. Where present, the teacher listens carefully as well. EdKe also tells us about the importance of fear: “It is OK to have fear, but not the intention to hold back to make the first step towards your goal.” In his opinion one should dare himself and walk towards his own dream. The beauty in daring is that it puts an individual in a position to discover the power of the self. “If necessary, you fall flat on your face! And then you get up and continue again. And you learn.”

EdKe is very happy with the choice of this film festival, he tells us. It gives non-white people like us the opportunity to recognize ourselves even better in it. “Through these and other films, or songs, we can get inspiration. We can also think about what it triggers in us and what appeals to us exactly, to examine who we really are. Then we think about his words, and some of us have a lot of questions and comments. The time, even though it sometimes runs a few minutes over, is too short.”

Then, as if intentionally the best remained for last. After the break, the groups that have seen the movie do not even need to loosen up. On the contrary, we dare to say what the movie touches us. When back in the classroom a shy student transforms into a strong young woman who remains loyal to the way she perceived the story of the movie. Our curiosity is increasing, and we show the need for more of such moments in school.

Published in newsletter of Suriname America Almuni Association | April 2017